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CATL’s battery plant in Germany, its first outside of China, receives production approval for 8 GWh per year

Battery manufacturing behemoth, CATL, shared news that its upcoming plant in Thuringia, Germany has received 2nd partial approval for cell production. This milestone brings the Chinese company one step closer to opening its first battery manufacturing facility outside of China later this year.

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd., better known as CATL, is a global energy technology company and the leading EV battery manufacturer in China. It’s expansive presence in the battery world has helped solidify its reign as the world’s largest by installed battery capacity for a fifth-straight year.

The company has made recent efforts to integrate more sustainability into the battery manufacturing process, announcing a new $5 billion recycling facility as well as a zero-carbon plant in China. Despite these new facilities to support its goal of global carbon neutrality, CATL has yet to expand outside its home in China… at least for now.

In 2019, CATL broke ground on a new battery manufacturing plant in Thuringia, Germany which will be known as Contemporary Amperex Technology Thuringia GmbH (CATT). The plant is on schedule to begin battery cell production before year’s end, and should create up to 1,500 jobs in the German state.

However, there is still some red tape and some dotted lines to sign before CATL can start making batteries in Germany. But with today’s news, the company is ever-closer.

CATL Germany
Thuringia’s Minister of Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation, Anja Siegesmund, handing permit to Matthias Zentgraf, CATL’s President for Europe / Source: CATL

CATL approved for battery cell production in Germany

The battery manufacturer announced this latest announcement in a press release out of Germany today, marking progress of its European expansion despite the woes of the pandemic. Matthias Zentgraf, CATL’s President for Europe, spoke to the 2nd partial approval in Germany:

CATT provides a fundamental impetus for the urgently needed energy transition, and we are glad to be the first company to receive approval to manufacture batteries ‘Made in Germany.’

In addition to being CATL’s first battery manufacturing plant outside of China, CATT will also be the first to arrive in Germany. German Ministers like Wolfgang Tiefensee hope this initial footprint can lead to further expansions in the state and more battery manufacturers calling Germany home:

For Thuringia, CATT is one of the most important industrial investments in recent decades. At the same time, the project could be the initial spark for the emergence of a ‘Battery Valley Thuringia,’ as the first batch of CATL’s supplier companies have settled around the area.

The initial CATT footprint will consist of two buildings – G1, an existing building CATL purchased from another company where battery cells are assembled into modules, and G2 – a new plant built by CATT where the cells will be produced. The latest approval from the press release pertains to a successful permit issued for the cell production of G2.

To further promote sustainability, the CATT plant will generate a portion of its power from solar panels on its roof. CATL shared that it will invest a total of 1.8 billion euro (~$1.96 billion) in the German plant, with a goal to eventually achieve 14 GWh of annual battery capacity and provide over 2,000 jobs.

CATL’s battery cell production in Germany is expected to begin before the end of 2022.

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